Critics Swoon Over Karan’s Crumpled Collection, Tsk-Tsk Herrera’s Superfluous Details

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From left: Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, and Donna Karan. Photo: Imaxtree

The reviews of the Marc Jacobs spring show are in, and they're ... good. They're not nearly as gushing as seasons past, mind you, but few found much to fault in his pretty, wearable collection. More overtly glowing praise came for Donna Karan's muted, wrinkled fabrics, which WWD deemed "gorgeous, through and through." The same could not be said for Carolina Herrera's glamorous, Asian-inspired jaunt. Read what the critics had to say about the latest collections.

THE HITS:
Donna Karan
• "The clothes were a departure for Karan as well, known as an enduring city slicker ... compelling and an overall success, especially the toughness she was able to command from such luxe, and typically delicate, fabrics." [Vogue UK]

• "This was a collection that took risks in the manner of the great Japanese designers of the 1980s...It was full of contrasts between intentionally crumpled jackets and meticulous evening-wear, everything the color of sand." [On the Runway/NYT]

• "[M]ost of the collection seemed aimed at an urban woman who does yoga, married an artist, and isn't afraid of fashion. And that's Ms. Karan ... It was raw and romantic, but it came across like a statement about busy women’s lives." [Heard on the Runway/WSJ]

• "The collection was serene and beautiful, and rather reflective of how much dress codes have loosened up in the quarter century that Karan has been at the forefront of American design." [Style]

• " ... a true natural beauty ... Even the meatier, more structured pieces ... were molded to accentuate the female form of which this was a celebration ... It was all gorgeous through and through." [WWD]

See a slideshow of the full Donna Karan spring 2011 collection.

Marc Jacobs
• "This wasn’t Mr. Jacobs’ most moving collection, but it had a finessing glamour and was a natural follow to last season’s elegant show and longer lengths." [On the Runway/NYT]

• "[Jacobs] looked "wearable." And so did his collection, though it certainly wasn’t bland and it certainly will enliven the pages of many high-fashion magazines ... a runway that is both wearable AND exciting." [Heard on the Runway/WSJ]

• "To be sure it was pretty and it was wearable and everything we love most about Marc Jacobs." [Vogue UK]

• "Mr. Jacobs was unrepentant about such obvious references to fashion’s past ... Does it matter that Mr. Jacobs should put a spin on existing ideas, when the results were so mouthwateringly colorful and ravishingly pretty? ... The real problem with fashion’s version of cut-and-paste is that it lacks the deep emotion that comes with firsthand inspiration...an appealing collection." [IHT via NYT]

• "The seventies have been in the air for a couple of seasons now ... but none in the materials Jacobs uses — double-face voiles, gauzes, etamines. And none that are half as seductive." [Style]

• "The boldly turned out ghosts of those good old days made a gleeful return at Marc Jacobs’ show on Monday night ... Here, Jacobs played to the flamboyant side of his favorite decade ... [his models'] Jet-set clothes said why should the Seventies have all the fun?" [WWD]

See a slideshow of the full Marc Jacobs spring 2011 collection.

THE MISSES:
Carolina Herrera
• Much of the work showed Mrs. Herrera at her best ... But there was also a second, incongruous theme of 18th-century botanical prints dominating the second half of the show ... after the 10th variation ... you began to wish Mrs. Herrera had pruned her garden just a bit." [On the Runway/NYT]

• "[A]n odd muse for a decidedly uptown designer ... Quite why one would, for instance, perch a huge peasant’s straw hat, ideal for planting seed in a rice paddy, on top of women dressed to go to lunch or dinner on Park Avenue was hard to fathom ... [Herrera] will go down in history as a great designer, with a unique sense of patrician quality. Not, however, on the basis of this collection." [Fashion Wire Daily]

• "The tall, wide-brimmed straw hats (customarily worn by men in Korea) and the superfluous obilike bows that decorated the bust- and waistlines of evening dresses hardly dispelled the disquiet, nor did floral prints complete with calligraphy detailing the plant's name and origins. Happily, there was also a lot here of a more subtle nature." [Style]

• " ... a tricky middle ground complicated by the fact that [Herrera] chose to work with not one, but two ultraspecific themes ... [The floral inspiration] at times translated all too literally into blown-out prints... Both ideas resulted in beautiful things... But for all the hits there were also some misses, many of which chalked up to needless details." [WWD]

See a slideshow of the full Carolina Herrara spring 2011 collection.

Tommy Hilfiger
• "Materially, the output will never exceed the creative input, and so he, Mr. Hilfiger of New York, Nantucket and Mustique, is doomed to repeat himself. Or, more accurately, the Hilfiger design team is ... You can’t approve of fashion frolicking with mass culture or give credibility to second-rate celebrities and then be shocked when you feel shortchanged." [NYT]

• "The theme, in case you hadn't guessed yet: Twisted Country Club ... It was a peppy, preppy vision that, at times, neared the far boundaries of Hilfiger's codes. Yet it never spilled into something that felt untrue to his spirit." [Style]

• "If you bet on preppy, then congratulations ... Very country club, yes, but it was awfully difficult to put your finger on what the twist was." [On the Runway/NYT]

• [The collection] seemed caught in a time warp of his very beginnings as a designer ... there was precious little rock on the catwalk, but loads of traditional prep ... But by the end — after witnessing 46 revamped versions of classic Hilfiger looks — the pre-show announcement that this was 'the first collection of the next 25 years,' did seem a tad ironic." [Fashion Wire Daily]

See a slideshow of the full Tommy Hilfiger spring 2011 collection.